No Hope in a Place of Hope
(John 5:1-9) “Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lay—the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever was there first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”
I used to get very bad migraine headaches which were usually brought on by very bad sinus infections. I would get warnings beforehand called an “aura.” An “aura” is symptoms or signs that you are about to get a migraine. They can be many different signs; the ones I used to get is a film would cover my eyes or sometimes I would see stars so to speak. Sometimes I would get blind spots. I could see and be in full daylight and yet, I could not see.
Hopelessness is much like that; you can be in a room full of Spirit filled people in which the Holy Spirit is overflowing to all around and there are spots in your spirit that catch a glimpse here and there of God’s presence from the overflow and yet the “blind spots” in your spirit keep you bound by hopelessness. That is what this story in the above Scripture is about. The man in the story had been waiting for 38 years! We, as children of God and baptized in the Holy Spirit, should take the Spirit of God everywhere we go. But in Church where we all meet together the Holy Spirit should be overflowing and no one should leave just as bound as when they came in; yet they do! Why is that?
As in the story above there were many there all with illnesses that need to be healed. Jesus has His own time in which our healing comes; sometimes it is immediate and sometimes it is a process.
(Mark 8:22-26) “They came to Bethsaida and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When He had spit on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and He saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t go into the village.”
Whether it is immediate or a process we should never lose hope. Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So, after dying for us why do we doubt Him? (Psalm 145:13) “The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made.”
1. The man could have become distracted by all the people. When we come to worship the Lord, our focus should be on HIM and not everyone else, what they wear, how full of the Spirit they are, where they are sitting or what they are doing. We come to learn more, to hear a Word from God and to worship Him. That is where our focus should be.
What is distracting you—worries, what others think, where YOU think you should be, how quick you want your promises or answered prayers? What is causing you to take your eyes off of Jesus?
(Hebrew 12:2) “Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
2. Waiting so long the man probably lost heart and felt as if God had forgotten Him. Nothing is further from the truth; He says He will “never leave us nor forsake us.”
(Psalm 119:169) “I obey Your precepts and Your statues, for all my ways are known to You.” God knows our hearts and He also knows the areas of our faith that need to grow and the weeds in our heart that need to be uprooted before He answers our prayers. There are also seasons for everything. (Ecclesiastes 3:1) “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”
I have chosen to include all of Psalm 139 because it states it so perfectly. God sees our coming and our going, He knows our hearts and He leads us--transforming us into His likeness. Don’t fight Him, trying to hold on to your will or doubt or worry if He forgot you. Just trust Him.
“Lord, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in—behind and before; You have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You. For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful; I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand? When I awake, I am still with You. If only You would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! They speak of You with evil intent; Your adversaries misuse Your name. Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord, and abhor those who rise up against You? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
3. Jesus wants to fix all of you and not just the illness in your body or your mind. There may be hidden roots behind the illness that He needs to uproot; that He needs to bring to the surface for you to deal with before your healing can take place.
(Matthew 15:13) “Every plant that My heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.”
In Christ all things become new. Some things may take longer to heal if they have deep roots, but trust in His never-ending love to heal every part of you. It is promised.
(II Corinthians 5:17) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
(II Corinthians 1:20) “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
(Psalm 103:1-5) “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord O my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
We are being renewed day by day with each trial. Trust in God and do not lose hope. (II Corinthians 3:18) “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
4. Do not let your blessing depend on others! The man in the story said, “I have no one to help me.” The man was waiting on someone else to get him to the healing water. If you are waiting on others to lead you to Christ or your healing, you may be in for a very long wait. Do whatever it takes to get His attention. There is power in the name and all you have to do is to call out His name! It does not have to be a very long prayer, just “Lord help me!”
(Mark 11:22-26) “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
(Galatians 6:9) “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
There is joy in His presence! Do not depend on anyone else; only Jesus can complete you and in Him there is “fullness of life.” Just seek and ask and you will find His peace and joy and you will be fulfilled.
(John 14:6) “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
(Acts 2:28) “You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence.”